Phantasy Star II gets a lot of talk about the depth of the story related through the game. But, how deep do you really think that story is? When you first played it, did you get all the "subtle nuisances," or did you only see them in retrospect? Is it "just a game" or is there really a profound lesson to be learned?
The $ Avenger
Posted: Wed Aug 22, '07, 1:04 am
I didn't see any depth to the story at all when I played it back when I was 9, but I think there is more depth to it than a first play-through would elicit. Granted, it is a skeleton of the story, and the player has to infer the lesson of it based off of principles and from subtleties in the game, rather than a full in-game explanation. I agree with the theory at camineet.net, that the game is about the evils of communism. The story definitely needs some expansion though.
I think you all know by now that I love PSII. I believe the story is very deep. The reason I say this is because as I'm novelizing it, you wouldn't believe how long it's taking me and I'm barely past Nido. I've only shared bits of what I've written here and there, but I promise you I'll be sure to present a much more chronological, full story when I'm done.
For a game with such little script, it's fascinating how deep it is. All the things the game presents: total government control, extreme reliance on technology, the apathy of civilization, the manipulation of ecology and the environment, and going on a quest with such little information leads to some very unexpected and dark twists in the game. When one discovers the true nature of evil in the game, it's quite the eye-opener. If the game had been presented in a more mature manner (the script seemed dumbed down for a more adolescent audience), it would have been on par with FFVII. Just look at how similar it was to that game, anyway. I actually find the fake Utopian experience on Motavia at the beginning wonderfully creepy now. It's a beautiful green world, but it's full of beasts and it's all about to go to hell in a hand basket.
You could take Dark Force out of PSII and it would still be a beautiful game. I would say that anyone who doesn't appreciate PSII probably suffers from the following: They read all the spoilers before they played the game, they get wrapped up in the slow pace and dated graphics, they're used to completing RPGs in a matter of days, or they have little imagination to fill in the missing script. If you need cut scenes and lots of "talk" in your RPGs, you won't appreciate this game, plain and simple.
Last edited by Tanith on Mon Aug 23, '10, 1:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.
I think PS2, out of the original saga, has the deepest story with the most mature moral, even it's presented so scarcely. But that's fine, it's better than shoving the morals and details at the player's face.
Last edited by Solar on Mon Aug 23, '10, 2:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.
I think it is a very deep game because if its serious and dark nature. There is a lot of irony, sarcasm, destruction, etc. The story of the game is a futuristic dystopia, very well constructed. The interesting thing is that you get no rewards for your efforts: the things keep getting worse and worse. You lose things each step you take in your journey. Look how different it is for protagonists of each PS: Alis - Is alone but for her brother, loses brother, gets overall support, defeat her foes and becomes the queen as a "reward". Rolf - Is alone in the world but for his adopted sister, loses sister, is persecuted by the government, almost everybody hates him, fails to save Palma from destruction, his end in uncertain (maybe dead). Heroes from PSIII - Have family, don't lose anyone. Attain a partial peace at some large cost (cities and satellites destroyed, Dark Force will return). Marriages don't count as a reward because they are not supposed to be so, they are just part of the mechanics of the game. Chaz - Is alone but for her friend, lose her friend, becomes "the chosen one", has general support, defeat the ultimate foe, attaining perpetual peace and gets Rika as a reward.
Well, a game you beat and your character is a loser must have a deep message.
Besides that, only PSII and PSIII have a real message that could be developed further to adult audiences. PSI and PSIV are just cliché: you are the queen/chosen one, you have a clear enemy, you defeat the evil and get a big reward besides perpetual peace. The deaths in these games are comparable to Disney deaths (Lion King, Bambi). I value PSI more because it brings the dictatorship subject, while PSIV is just pure evil against you. PSII has all the stuff about totalitarianism, dangers of conformism, dangers of technology, death, destruction of a planet, environmental problems, etc. PSIII has you not knowing who you are fighting until the near end, consequences of your choices, uncertainty of the future.
So I really think PSII stands out as the best game, most because its story, which is the greatest thing of PS series (the game mechanics of these kind of RPG are rather dull: you just click a button and see what happens). PSIII has a strong story too, it is a pity the game suffered a lot during development. PSI has a so-so story, but deserves kudos for being the pioneer, light years ahead what was available at its time. PSIV has a so-so story, which is the weakest of the series, and was light years behind what was available at that time (and even if it was made for Sega CD as intended, with videos and 3D mazes, it would still be light years behind).
PS2 became my favourite PS game for all the above mentioned reasons. It's got an absorbing storyline, very deep and mature, even if it does crawl by at a snail's pace. And some people do believe that FF7 'borrowed' a few ideas from both PS2 and PS4, the latter being that the main villian's (Sephiroth) qualities are remarkably similar to Zio and that they both kill a female lead character. I tend to ignore PS2's outdated 1989 graphics and hard gameplay, but hell, I love it.
Rolf is the only PS hero that gets nothing in return after everything he's endured. He fights to protect the people around him, is betrayed by the very government he served (and ironically, serving his executioner, Mother-Brain) and is blamed for the destruction of Palma... Compared to this, PS4's story is laughable, and the ending even more so.
Man, what a hero. No wonder he's my favourite male character.
PS2 has by far the deepest story of any game created IMO... if you choose to delve deep into it.
in fact, the game itself I believe can be seen as foreshadowing to what our own world is becoming. the age of the ultimate super-computer that controls all of our systems may be closer at hand than we realize, and we as humans in an industrialized nation have already seen what we've become with all the new technologies. we're lazier than we were 20 years ago. everything is done in an instant, it's just so much easier to do anything these days.
we're going down the same path that those of the PS2 Earth and that of Algo have gone down. scary, huh?
I thought it was a pretty deep story at the time. Back then, the plot of the average console RPG was "dear anonymous warriors, the king commands you to do some stuff". Here you had an assortment of characters with actual names and back-stories. With just a couple sentences you felt like you knew the life story of each companion who joined your group. Each one of them was someone you could even empathize with.
The world around you is downright creepy to think about - a civilization who have locked themselves inside domes following an all-powerful government that no one questions or understands. Meanwhile, outside of their protective environment all sort of evil is going on around them. Most seem blissfully unaware of these events.
The heroes eventually uncover the secret of their world and liberate the people - but at what cost? Can the people of Mota really fend for themselves? It's no wonder that 1,000 years later Mota is no more advanced than in was in PSII. I have to imagine they entered a terrible dark age after the events of PSII that took many generations to recover from.
Which is amusing, because (roughly) that's what PSIII did.
Like all things, I think people tried to make the game deeper than it actually was, but I do feel like it was a hell of a gear change from PSI and had a more mature feel to it. The second you hit the scene with Darum where he kills his daughter and then himself upon his realization...that's not exactly something that was commonplace at the time. It gave me, even as a 12 year old when I played it in 1996, a feeling of, "Well...damn..."
Stack the myriad of bad things that happens as the game progresses, with every action seemingly being met with disaster (You stopped the monsters? Congratulations, your surrogate sister is dead and the government is trying to execute you. You opened the dams and saved everyone? Congratulations, you've been captured and are on a satellite that's crashing. Etc.) and...well, it's not exactly a happy story.
And I think that's the main thing that made PSII so different. Even within its own series, let's look at the outcomes shall we? Alisa becomes Queen of Algol. Lutz becomes leader of the Espers. Myau...err, lives in a cave (maybe). Tyron...uh, does stuff. Rudy gets to bang out Fal for the rest of his days. Forren and Freyna retire to their satellite to watch over Algol. Thray does his disappearing act. Hahn gets to life peacefully, only with a spine now. Pyke gets to...go dig through trash? Raja gets to go get drunk and tell bad jokes about how The PD had breasts and Kyra gets to go become part of the Sailor Senshi.
Eusis and co. get to face almost certain death. *cue battle fanfare music*
Add to that the 1984-esque elements and...yeah. I'd say PSII was pretty deep. And definitely among the darker RPG's, even today. Plus, Eusis and co. arguably are the biggest heroes of the bunch, given that they faced nothing but hardship for their efforts but still kept going.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it. ;p
Last edited by PSP on Sun Aug 29, '10, 10:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The great achievement of PSII was completely lost on PSIV.
PSIII had some setbacks, like the medieval thing and kings and queens, but its story is still deep, once it presents you fighting against people who are not your real foes. It deals also with prejudice and fundamentalism. Orakians and Layans go through a process of rediscovering their world, similar to the process that happened to Europeans in High and Late Middle Ages. In the beginning of the game Orakians think Layans are monsters and Layans think Orakians eat Layans, but in the end they realize they are the same, just with different but similar beliefs.
In PSIV, the game turned to a clichè japanese manga/anime history. There is a bit of drama with an emotional death, a bit of silly and unnecessary jokes, the underdog hero that discovers he is the chosen one, the annoying guy that is the overpower and was hassling the underdog hero just to test if he was really the chosen one, the hero ends with the girl, the hero has to face the biggest foe nobody has ever faced before, he defeats the root of all the evil and they live in peace forever.
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